Review Fix chats with “The First 50 Super Bowls” author Ed Benkin, who discusses the book and why it’s a must-read for any hardcore football fan.
About: The First 50 Super Bowls:
The Super Bowl redefined American sports. Over the past half century, the NFL’s championship game has grown from humble beginnings to the biggest sporting event of the calendar year—an event that creates legendary stories, from Len Dawson’s conversation with the president to Jim O’Brien’s game-winning kick and Randy White’s post-game duet with Willie Nelson. Covering 50 Super Bowls, from 1966 through 2016, this book gives an insider’s view of each game, with recollections from the people who participated, many told for the first time.
Review Fix: What inspired this book?
Ed Benkin: I always had a great passion watching NFL Films videos and always enjoyed watching the Super Bowl videos every year. Working in sports broadcasting and covering and NFL team, it tied in that I wanted to try and write a book and with the 50th Super Bowl coming up at the time, it seemed like the right fit
Review Fix: What was the writing and editing experience like for you?
Benkin: A lot of it was a labor of love, but it was also an enormous project. With 50 Super Bowls, I needed players and/or coaches on both teams in each game. I interviewed 102 former or current coaches and players. It was incredible to hear these men tell their stories after following what they had accomplished. The hard part was reaching everybody and also transcribing all of the interviews. Writing the chapters was actually the exciting/easy part because of all of the information and incredible stories that were told.
Review Fix: Did you learn anything you weren’t expecting?
Benkin: I was surprised and flattered how the players and coaches were so willing to open up about so many things that you would have never known. The purpose of the book was to do more than describe was you saw in the box score of the games and it went better than I could have ever imagined. The older players, in particular, were eager to tell their stories.
Review Fix: Favorite Super Bowl game? Why?
Benkin: Since the book is about the first 50 Super Bowls, I guess Super Bowl 52 wouldn’t count because it was after the book, but working as a Philadelphia reporter and covering the Eagles’ first Super Bowl win was a professional experience that may never be topped. As far as the first 50, Super Bowl 25 stands out. Having spent my childhood in Buffalo, it was the Bills’ first Super Bowl….and it was a one-point classic (even though it did not go Buffalo’s way). Factor in the patriotism with the Gulf War at the time and was one of the all-time great Super Bowl moments.
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy this book the most?
Benkin: If people like to hear great stories, then you’ll like this book. I like to think it appeals mostly to the football fans but some of the stories told appeal to an even wider audience.
Review Fix:What are your goals for this book?
Benkin: To give people a chance to understand the story behind the games. Every Super Bowl has it stories (even the blowouts) so I wanted people to understand the games from a different perspective. I am also hoping it will be a chance for people to understand the significance of the Super Bowl…not just from a football perspective, but also from a cultural impact.
Review Fix: What’s next for you?
Benkin: The Eagles (and much of the rest of the Philadelphia sports world) continue to keep me busy at KYW and WIP in Philadelphia, but I would certainly love to do another book project…..maybe something that does not involve 102 interviews. Former Baltimore Colt Mike Curtis was a tremendous help with the book and did the forward for it, so I am thinking about the possibility of reaching out to him about a project concerning his life.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Benkin: Just what an honor and privilege it was to hear from so many great Super Bowl heroes and to learn more about their Super Bowls that I could ever dream of.